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Faculty at Harvard Medical School developed an online, evidence-based video series to provide clinical guidelines for health care providers around the world and combat misinformation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
The online platform — a collaborative effort among HMS professors, clinical experts across multiple Harvard-affiliated hospitals, and Boston-based nonprofit Partners in Health — provides instructional videos on accurate prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Covid-19. The series has been translated into seven different languages and was added to India’s online government repository for pandemic-related information in October.
HMS curriculum fellow Anika T. Singh, who spearheaded the project’s outreach in India, said the video series was created in part to provide up-to-date, accurate clinical information during the pandemic.
“As a global community, what has been really hard about Covid-19 is that it’s such a dynamic, fluid situation that a lot of people hadn’t seen in their lifetime that the cyber community really had to rapidly keep up with,” Singh said.
According to Singh, the program’s organizers hope to address gaps in global clinical education and other issues that have emerged during the pandemic, including misinformation surrounding diagnostic testing, vaccine hesitancy, and the use of unapproved medications.
“What we saw in the Covid-19 pandemic was that there are global weaknesses in health care education, and these can have impacts on evidence-based implementation,” Singh said.
HMS Dean for Research Operations and Global Programs David E. Golan said a major issue the video series sought to address was the global utilization of Covid-19 treatments that lacked scientific backing.
“Medications that were not being used appropriately or according to guidelines had gotten into the popular press and the social media as potential cures for Covid,” Golan said.
In addition to combating the spread of pandemic misinformation, the initiative disseminated the videos to developing countries to help guide clinical practice in low-resource areas.
“One [focus] was how to treat seriously ill patients in village settings and community settings where they can’t necessarily just walk down the street to a hospital,” Golan said.
Aiming to reach more rural populations in India, the initiative is in the process of translating the videos into several local dialects, according to Singh.
“We want to share the information that we have here in a place like Harvard Medical School that is at the cutting edge — the amazing work that people are doing, the amazing doctors we have — and add that to what’s being done in these local areas,” Singh said.
Golan described a “spirit of collaboration” that enabled the growth of the video series and lauded the efforts of HMS faculty, who helped develop the online platform pro bono.
“I think the pandemic has really brought the scientific and medical community together, and my hope for the future is that those collaborations will be sustainable — that people will realize a new way of doing science and a new way of thinking about medicine and treating patients,” Golan said.
—Staff writer Anjeli R. Macaranas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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